I’m surprised how often my clients, even those quite successful in their professions, report struggling with the core belief “I’m not good enough.” This belief is very closely linked to the feeling of shame, which is just about the densest experience a person can have.
Where does shame come from? If as children our caregivers somehow fail to empathize with us, such as chronically failing to give us the emotional security we need, the assumption our young minds make is that it must be due to some defect within us. Since we need our parents to biologically and emotionally survive, to recognize their limitations would be unbearable. Plus when we are very young, we are simply not cognitively mature enough to make such an assessment. So, the “not good enough” belief, as awful as it feels, becomes the lesser of two evils. This belief propels the fantasy of control; if you were to become good enough, you would finally get the love and attention from your parents you’ve been craving. Certainly a preferable fantasy than the experience of powerlessness…Shame is, then, the outgrowth of relational stress.
The problem is that although a person may mature and accomplish great things, this archaic belief of not being good enough remains alive and unwell in his/her subconscious mind.
One of the key ingredients to overcoming the “not good enough” experience is Self-Compassion. When we learn to embrace ourselves, just as we are, that old shame tends to disippate. It’s a relief to soften to ourselves, rather than judge ourselves relentlessly. That’s why many of the techniques I employ help my clients to move away from rejecting themselves and closer to loving themselves.
Are you ready to become Good Enough in your own mind?